The No. 3-seeded Kansas City Chiefs face the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, January 28. Kickoff is set for 3:00 p.m. ET from M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. The winner of the game will head to Las Vegas for Super Bowl LVIII, where they will face the winner of Sunday evening’s Lions-49ers matchup.
The Ravens enter as 3.5-point home favorites. As the top overall seed in the AFC, Baltimore received a first-round bye before defeating the Houston Texans 34-10 in the Divisional Round. The Chiefs grabbed a win over the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card round before eking out a win over the Bills in Buffalo to reach the AFC Championship.
There are a few factors that are important to consider as we look to bet on this matchup. The first is that the Ravens had the best overall record in the NFL this season, finishing 13-4, while the Chiefs went 11-6. Kansas City’s offense is not up to par with last season’s Super Bowl winning team, but Patrick Mahomes is Patrick Mahomes, and the quarterback has showed just how much of a difference-maker he can be throughout the playoffs.
The referee for the matchup is Shawn Smith — and while we may not usually note the ref in our betting picks, Smith’s crews have officiated 15 games this season, and the home team has gone 3-12 straight-up in those games and 3-10-2 ATS.
ATS Pick: Chiefs +3.5
Despite the Chiefs’ shortcomings during the regular season, Kansas City has picked up the pace in the postseason, and their defense continues to be a strong point. This game has the potential to be an instant classic, and the Chiefs should be able to keep this one close and perhaps even come away with a road win.
We’re at the point in Mahomes’ career where discounting the effect of his presence would be foolish, particularly in a key playoff game. This game features a fantastic QB matchup with MVP favorite Lamar Jackson on the other side of the ball. The Ravens’ run game, centered around Jackson, will be the key for Baltimore, and this one could truly go either way.